PS2: Pretty standard, really

The plan was simple: Go to Japan and buy a Sony PlayStation 2.

For months, Tabloid spy Sebastian Marks had been lusting after a PS2, and he just couldn't wait until October for the Australian launch. (Sebastian works for a gaming magazine, so he does have a good excuse!)We were travelling to Long Island, New York for a friend's wedding, and since our flights went via Tokyo, it seemed the perfect opportunity for Sebastian to buy his PS2.

After leaving Hicksville, a real town on Long Island, we touched down in our Pokemon plane at Narita Airport, just outside Tokyo, eager to hunt down a PS2.

Our hotel in Ginza was chosen partly because of its proximity to the Sony Building, a display centre spanning five levels. No joy there, as the centre was not a retail outlet.

To make matters worse, the staff could not suggest anywhere that we might purchase a PS2, offering the official Sony line that PS2 has sold out at all Sony resellers across Tokyo. They also showed us an English translation of the Japanese Government edict that PS2 is not to be sold outside Japan, as its processing power is so sophisticated it could potentially be converted into a missile guidance system. (In fact, you are allowed to export PS2s . . . but only one at a time.)Our next stop was Tower Records. They too had sold out, but they did direct us to a number of stores in another district of Tokyo.

One subway ride later and still no joy. These stores had also been depleted of PS2s. Depressed and beginning to believe the Sony corporate line, we wandered around looking for a place to eat lunch.

The trick with Tokyo is that you don't find anything on the main street, everything cool is in the alleys, everything from vending machines selling beer to restaurants and night clubs.

So it was fitting that it was in one of these alleys, on our way back to the subway after lunch, that we spotted a store bearing the PS2 logo. We went inside for one more look, and sure enough, the store had at least five PS2 consoles.

One hour and $600 later, Sebastian Marks is standing with his new life partner (Pretty Sexy 2) outside the Sony building. Check out the look of elation!

The moral of the story is, of course, trust the resellers, not the vendor.